- Stranger : Do you work here?
- Me : I volunteer. And it is only my first day, so I am not even legit yet. What are you doing here?
- Stranger : Studying. I am what you call a studianté.
- Me : You know that student in French is étudiant, right?
- Stranger : Well I just started.
I am losing my mother tongue.
I had been in denial for a week, blaming my poor sentence structure and obsessive rereading a result of indulging in too much Ulysses. Then yesterday, I said “strawberry” instead of “Saturday”. Saying “strawberry” was the straw-breaking moment when I realized that my brain is not programmed for mastering two languages; it can only either master one or half-ass both. Thinking back over the past week, I realized that I had started speaking my English with a slight French accent to English-speaking French people because it was easier for them to understand. My mother tongue leaving me is obviously punishment for the betrayal. Now not only am I panicking about losing my flair for language, but neither my English nor my French sound proper anymore.
I think I am going to start keeping my mouth shut.
*20 minutes later: I just wrote rainbows instead of rain boots in a list of things to purchase.